Real Women v/s Reel Women
“An ideal woman in Indian T.V. serials is the one whose job is to hunt for an eligible match, marry, cook, take care of family/children/in-laws, keep the family united & sheltered from evils of all kinds and be ready to sacrifice themselves under all circumstances.” Indian soap operas, normally called the saas-bahu sagas are not only regressive but depict a ridiculous version of Indian Culture which harms more than entertains. Television has the capability to influence even those in the remote corners of the country. But instead of doing something progressive, these serials show a regressive India. Kanan Dhru – Founder and Managing Director at Research Foundation for Governance in India, Ahmadabad opines that, “It is shocking how in a majority of Indian T.V. soaps working women are portrayed in negative light – how they are ambitious and independent, which is a curse for the family and for the society”
The ‘reel’ woman has a uniform character with no shades of grey. They are devoid of any natural sense of ambition, desire and self-respect. Reel women insulted in every way possible. It paints a peculiar picture in the mindset of millions of women in rural areas hindering progress on the pretext of culture. In Sasural Simar Ka aired on Colors, two sisters Simar (Deepika Samson) and Roli (Avika Gor) get married in the same family. Before marriage, Simar desires to achieve her dream of becoming a dancer. However, she is made to give up on her wishes owing to pressure from family. The dichotomy between a housewife and a working woman is reinforced to prove that a woman is incapable of handling responsibilities on both fronts. Be it Priya in Bade Acche Lagte Hai or Sandhya ( Diya aur Baati Hum or Archana in Pavitra Rishta etc, condition is same everywhere. While the real women in today’s world are managing both household and professional work profoundly.
My purpose of writing this article is not to insult Indian serials but to strongly recommend that there should be serials where real Indian women who are foregoing ahead to meet the challenges involved in breaking traditional cultural barriers and asserting their independent identity. Definitely few shows like sapne suhane ladakpan ke, airlines forecast better picture of a women but most of the shows doesn’t do so. Television has the power to influence and shape the thinking of the people. The makers of these serials must be more responsible about what they show to their audience. It would be nice to see something more relatable, a picture closer to reality and more realistic roles: not a saint, but a real woman with all her flaws. Concepts, storylines, and characters should revive and revamp. — About the Author: The article has been contributed by our intern, Swati Agrawal